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Shuttle planned for Oregon butte

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  • Tsunami, an eleven year old female Sumatran Orangutan shields herself from the sun during her birthday celebration at the National Zoo Ape Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul)

BEND, Ore. >> Deschutes National Forest officials plan to offer the new summertime Lava Butte shuttle service again next year for visitors hoping to catch the view of the Cascades.

The Bend Bulletin reports the forest manager of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Scott McBride, says the shuttle pilot program that launched in May reduced wait times for visitors looking to make the 1 3/4-mile journey to the top of the butte.

The forest had previously run a summertime permit system for visitors to drive up to the top, but it sometimes resulted in two-hour wait times.

Cascades East Transit and nonprofit organization Discover Your Forest partnered with forest officials to test the new service, which makes the butte accessible to only the 38-passenger buses, walkers and bikers.

Park to offer sandhill crane tours

LUCAS, Ky. >> Barren River Lake State Resort Park is offering tours for people wanting to get a look at sandhill cranes as they migrate home to the north.

The park is offering tours during two weekends for guests to learn more about the birds.

State parks officials say tours will be held Jan. 29-30 and Feb. 5-6 in 2016.

Each year, thousands of sandhill cranes make Barren River Lake a stop as they gather in huge numbers to migrate. The lake’s exposed mud flats in winter provide the birds with a spot to rest and socialize as they settle in for the night. Ample farmlands and wet meadows offer plenty of food.

Sandhill cranes are tall, gray birds reaching heights up to 4 feet, with wingspans of 6 to 7 feet.

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